Thursday, June 07, 2007

Tech group endows 32 funds

As of this month, $7 million has been donated to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund.

The Virginia Tech Foundation has put almost half of the approximately $7 million donated thus far to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund into 32 separate memorial funds, each created and named in honor of a victim in the April 16 shootings.

The transfer of $3.2 million brings each of the 32 funds to at least $100,000, the amount needed to fully endow a fund and ensure its scholarship or fellowship will be available in perpetuity.

Final decisions on how the memorial funds will be awarded will be made in conjunction with victims' families, Tech spokesman Larry Hincker said.

Established in the aftermath of the shootings, the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund is administered by the foundation with guidance from Virginia Tech. In total, it makes up 34 funds: the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, which is intended to cover expenses resulting from the tragedy and to help support ongoing memorials; the Hokie Spirit Scholarship Fund, a fully endowed scholarship that will support students universitywide; and the 32 individual victim memorial funds. The first awards from each of the funds will likely be made in the fall.

The Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund has received donations from individuals, civic groups and businesses throughout the world. While many of those contributions came in relatively small sums, others reached seven figures. The New York Yankees, for example, donated $1 million to the fund in late May.

So far, the foundation has spent about $100,000 from the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund to address immediate expenses including those related to funerals, travel, media and campus events.

In the future, the fund is expected to be used for such things as: health insurance for the families of the deceased faculty; undergraduate education expenses for children of deceased faculty; and financial counseling and mental health services for victims' families.

In addition, the university intends to use the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund to help pay tuition and fees for injured students through spring 2008; cover medical costs not forgiven or otherwise covered by insurance; and pay for several full-time family advocates who will work with victims' families.

Hincker said $300,000 to $400,000 has been committed to these future expenses.

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